A FIRST AREA IN AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY IS BORN

The excitement and pride was palpable at the launch of the Agtech Zone in Repentigny on February 6. The project initiated by the MRC of L’Assomption in Lanaudière is presented as the first area in agricultural technology in Quebec.

The objective is to make scientists, young companies, students, investors and companies work together to develop the sector of innovative agricultural technologies and plant bioproducts in order to make Quebec a leader in sustainable agriculture.

Ultimately, the Agtech Zone could benefit from $ 220 million in direct investments and stimulate the creation of 2,600 quality jobs. “The project includes several ecological and innovative measures, including the obligation for companies that set up there to convert part of their roof to green roof,” said L’Assomption mayor Sébastien Nadeau.

The company is ready for a project of this scale, he said. “It is increasingly important for people to know what they eat, how it is grown and the impact it has on the environment. I think about my children and I am proud that we have an opportunity to change the world. “

Post-Electrolux

Chantal Deschamps, mayoress of Repentigny and prefect of the MRC of L’Assomption, recounted the genesis of the project with emotion. “In 2014, it was the closure of the Electrolux plant and the loss of 1,300 jobs, a major blow for the region. We’re used to sticking together here, so we mayors wondered how we could turn this into an opportunity. Thinking about the identity of our RCM, we realized that it is 76% agricultural, and we targeted new technologies as the sector of the future. “

Although negotiations have not been concluded with the Swedish company, part of the Agtech Zone is expected to take place on the now vacant land of the former Electrolux factory, located in L’Assomption. Other lands in L’Épiphanie and Repentigny are targeted, for a total of 15 square kilometers.

Ecofuel, Cascades, the agricultural cooperative Novago, the Consortium for research and innovations in industrial bioprocesses in Quebec (CribiQ), the Connection Group and Merinov are some of the actors involved in the project.

The Agtech Zone will include an open research-style incubator in innovation giving access to an agricultural research center and greenhouses in experimental plots, demonstration sites, advisory services and development, networking and financing workshops, among other ‘other services. Partnerships with several university bodies and research and transfer centers, including the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, will also allow access to quality knowledge.

Innovative farm projects will see the light of day, such as the Messis project, a vegetable farming business based on the circular economy model and operating in aquaponics. “In the basement, we plan the fish farming section, on the ground floor a vertical agricultural production which could be small fruits, and on the roof, it will be greenhouses”, explains its promoter Francis Doucet.

The adventure has only just begun for the Agtech Zone. Already, in the spring, the participants will meet for an international mission organized in Morocco.

Source: Geneviève Quessy, La Terre de chez nous; https://www.laterre.ca/actualites/en-region/une-premiere-zone-en-technologies-agricoles-voit-le-jour

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